Marketing of Hoodia Supplements
Hoodia dietary supplements abound on the internet, promising safe, side effect free appetite suppression. Each has its own website where they extol the virtues of Hoodia gordonii in general and their product in particular. Here are some of the common techniques employed by these websites:
Most of the websites start by telling a simplified history of Hoodia and the San Bushmen who have used it for centuries. They often forget to mention that the San eat fresh Hoodia to suppress their appetite. They do stress the primitive and almost mythical powers of the San, however, as well as the great benefits they supposedly derive from eating Hoodia.
The websites will then tell you how their product is far superior to other products, as they are the only trustworthy source of real Hoodia. A nice touch is to explain how one can be scammed from unscrupulous Hoodia companies. They may then explain that only their product is grown by REAL SOUTH AFRICAN FARMERS (apparently it is important to stress this by using all capital letters).
Another common gimmick is the use of false comparison websites that purport to compare without bias a selection of Hoodia products. Check to see if you have ever heard of the organization doing the comparison, as some supplement distributors have been known to create fake organizations in order to direct business to their products.
Many websites seem to offer expert testimony on the effectiveness of their product. However, when examined carefully, either the experts are unnamed or they are quoted as to the effectiveness of Hoodia in general, and not the product being sold on the website.
Another card the nutritional supplements play is the conspiracy theory of the big bad pharmaceutical companies. Apparently, these companies believe in the effectiveness of Hoodia, but since they can’t patent it, will not try to release a Hoodia product unless they can synthesize it, which they can patent.
Careful reading of one website found that the makers of that supplement recommended combining a reduced calorie diet and regular walking of several miles with Hoodia. Apparently their product works best if you also eat properly and exercise!
Many websites claim to offer money back guarantees and free samples, but how easy do you think those will be for something you buy off the internet? It is best to assume that any money you send out will not be coming back, no matter you satisfaction with the product.
Most websites do offer a disclaimer, often in a very small font at the bottom of the page. A typical disclaimer will say things like
Please Note: The statements contained on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, mitigate or cure any disease. Your actual results may vary. Please check with your physician before taking any diet pills or starting any weight loss program.
And finally, it is probably a good idea to be wary of outlandish claims, such as one website that claimed their Hoodia product would give you superhuman-like strength to make love all night long!